“It was never my intention to see Chris Harrison step aside but it was my intention for others to see and hear this interview,” Lindsay told Extra on February 15. “It’s important to further and highlight these discussions. The only way to do that is to have these uncomfortable conversations so we can understand the underlying issues and implicit racism that exists within our society. When we can learn to recognize implicit and unconscious bias that history of our environments have taught us, then we can challenge one another to be better for ourselves but also for this society."
She then went on to underscore that accountability is the primary goal. "Let’s not label, let’s not cancel, but let’s hold people accountable for their actions. Let’s set the example in this generation so that we don’t repeat the horrific mistakes from the past and so we can unify and be the change that this country needs to make this society better for the next generation."
On February 9, Lindsay interviewed Harrison about Rachael Kirkconnell, a Bachelor frontrunner who attended a 2018 "Old South party" while at Georgia College and State University. During the particularly offensive interview, Lindsay was subjected to Harrison's failed attempt at defending the contestant's past racist behavior.
During the interview, Harrison told Lindsay that fans should show “a little understanding” and "compassion” for Kirkconnell, and blamed the "woke police" for looking into her racist and culturally appropriative behavior. After receiving backlash and criticism for his words, including a Change.org petition calling for his removal as Bachelor Nation host, Harrison issued an apology via Instagram on February 10. He said he realized he "caused harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism," and also apologized specifically to his "friend" Lindsay for not listening or deferring to her judgement as someone who, as a Black woman, has experienced racism firsthand.
Then, on February 13, Harrison apologized further and announced that he will be "stepping aside for a period of time" from the franchise. "I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong," he wrote. "[...] This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions." The cryptic post describing his leave seems to suggest that at this point his exit is temporary, and doesn't specify how long he'll be gone or who will replace him as host.
Many fans were baffled that Harrison went so far in his defense of Kirkconnell, but then began to theorize that it may have something to do with who makes it to the end of Matt James' season. It appears that Harrison is purposefully taking all the blame and pulling focus of the drama to himself instead of a contestant with many more weeks on the show.
Whatever the motive, many fans side with Lindsay and agree that the racism on the show is systemic, and The Bachelor/Bachelorette can't be "fixed" by simply casting Black and POC contestants. It needs to take a good look at itself, hold people accountable, and start making actionable changes.